Joe Gibbs believes that Tony Stewart will eventually overcome the trauma associated with the accident that killed sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. earlier this month.
Stewart, who formerly drove for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series before forming his own team, has sat out the past two races in the series and has not indicated when he might return to the track.
Gibbs and other drivers have not spoken with Stewart since the incident in New York on Aug. 9 that left the young Ward dead after he exited his wrecked car and tried to confront Stewart on the dirt track while the race was under caution.
"From what I saw with Tony, he's got great courage, he's smart, he loves this sport," Gibbs said Tuesday. "He's totally focused on it."
Gibbs said he has been praying for his former driver.
"We all love Tony, we love what he did for us here," he said. "We know he's a racer's racer and he's big for our sport. I would love to have a chance to speak with him at some point and encourage him."
Gibbs was told that Stewart is in seclusion with close family and friends while he grieves.
"This is a horrible thing to have happen -- for the (Ward) family, for (Stewart) -- so we're all praying for 'em," Gibbs said. "This is just hard to go through, so everybody is going to have to prayerfully work their way through it."